Thursday, October 13, 2005

Alumni Band, Madison, friends, family, and beer

Tis the season for the annual University of Wisconsin Alumni Band reunion. This year it was held the first week of October during the Wisconsin/Indiana game. Generally I wouldn’t want to make a weekend trip across the country just for a football game, but I make an exception for alumni band. Equipoise and I have reputations to maintain, and fear that not returning for alumni band one year could sacrifice our front and center spots in the pregame show. Who knows what carnage could precipitate with out us, and who would show the young ones how to do it right? Additionally, JoJo was going to be coming to town, and it’s a rare , not to be missed occasion when all three siblings are in the same zip code.

Why is Wisconsin so cool? Because we got time machines, baby!

The weekend started with getting up at 4:30 am (after going to bed at 2:30am), in order to catch my 6:05am flight out of Sacramento, to catch a connection in Phoenix, to land in Milwaukee. I took a bus out of the airport, but due to poorly marked street signs, I got off to early – five miles to early, and had nice walk through the interesting areas of Milwaukee on my way to the Third Ward District. Eventually, I met up Sean and Mary, and we headed on our way to Madison, picking up Sner on the way.

Arriving in Madison, Mary dropped us off so the “boys could play,” while she went to hook up with a friend, and return later as designated driver. The bad news: Oakcrest Tavern is no longer Oakcrest Tavern, it changed owners, taking with it its scrumptious bar menu, and cute waitresses. The good news: Lucky’s tavern, (the bar formerly known as the Oakcrest), serves beer in the large, glass, sit on table, gravity taps. Good times followed. Jainie and Matt gave a surprise visit, along with Jill, and her new boy. We spent some time hanging at the Stadium Bar, which was later followed by each of us getting a mason jar of nostalgia, in the form of the Red Sheds always strong “Real Deal.” (That’s a Long island ice tea served in a mason jar.) We closed the night out by eating Ian’s Pizza, completely drunk, while sitting on the wall outside of Witte Hall.

Mary woke us up at 7:15am. I’ll take a gander that we were probably still drunk at this point. Regardless, we headed to the stadium for our early morning practice. The alumni band isn’t known for much beyond fat and lazy people trying to get back a piece of their youth, however, nothing better sums of this year’s practice than the phrase clusterfuck. Seriously, we reached a new low, that isn’t likely to be surpassed anytime soon.

We got a traditional pregame breakfast at Mickey’s Dairy Bar, and headed to the game. Overall the game was a fun time. Pregame and halftime was typical, the Badgers won in a one sided game, and fifth quarter was surprisingly short.

Equipoise originally made the trumpet sign back in his days in band. After spending time in his basement, it later adorned the outside of my house, which became known as the trumpet house. I still know some of the people living there, although the sign is definitely worse for wear after a couple of years

After the game, we headed back to the hotel room, and met up with JoJo and her boyfriend Paul. The room had eight pillows, and there were three siblings. Not a good combination if you don’t expect carnage to break out. Later, we walked across the street to have dinner with some of Equipoise’s band friends and Jill. The food at Piasson’s was mediocre as usual. I don’t understand why everyone always raved about their food. I don’t consider myself a great cook, but I do better Italian than they do.

Since JoJo and Paul had never seen Madison, we took a stroll down State Street in search of beer. I know, hard to find on State Street, especially on a game weekend. We got distracted, however, when an impromptu game of Lava Rock Rock Revolution broke out by capitol square. Good times. We ended the evening drinking sampler platters at the Great Dane Brewery, which I hadn’t even known had a back patio.

The next morning, we took a nice bike ride through, around, and out of town. Equipoise was gracious enough to bring along an extra bike, despite it being a pain to fit it in his little Civic Del Sol. We went through the Memorial Union Terrace, and planned on going to Picnic Point, but instead ended up at the airport. You would have sworn JoJo was leading the way, not Equipoise. We did find a really nice breakfast place out on Willy Street though. Although I had always heard good things about the Willy Street area, I had never actually been there while living in the city for 6 years. Neat place.
With that, it was time for us to head off, so I could catch my flight back to Sacramento.

Me, JoJo, and Paul in front of the statue on Bascom Hill. The old campus joke is that everyone should walk in front of Abe before graduation. If you're still a virgin, he'll stand up.


Blogger Frick said...

What? How did you end up on the runway? Weren't there fences and things like that? I hope this was pre-ultra airport security.

12:20 PM  

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